Rules of Table Football (Foosball)

These are not the official tournament rules, but rules suitable for generic play in for pubs, clubs, college leagues etc. They ensure a high quality of game play without complex rules more suitable for a tournament. source British Foosball Association.

Kick Off

  • At the start of the game, teams toss a coin for choice of kick-off or side of table
  • The team awarded the kick-off gets possession of a stationary ball on the (midfield) 5-bar
  • The team with the kick-off must ensure that the opposing team is ready before starting play. The ball must be passed between 2 players on the 5-bar before being played forward
  • At kick-off a team cannot score direct from the 5-bar and any ball that goes in to the goal, or is deflected in off an opposition player will be restarted. The shooting restriction only applies to the 5-bar of the team kicking-off and is lifted once the ball has touched any player on any other bar
  • After a goal is scored, the game is restarted with a kick-off to the team that conceded the last goal


  • A ball that is stationary on the 5-bar cannot be passed directly to a player on the 3-bar, but must touch two players on the 5-bar and be in motion when the forward pass is played. Players can shoot from a stationary ball except at kick-off as detailed above


  • Goals may be scored at any time from the (attacker) 3-bar, the (defender) 2-bar or the goalie bar
  • Goals may be scored during open play from the 5-bar, but not direct from kick-off as detailed above
  • If the ball enters the goal and bounces out it counts as a goal and the game is restarted with a kick-off to the conceding team as usual


  • If the ball leaves the table, play is restarted by a 5-bar kick-off by the team who last kicked off.
  • If the ball goes dead (cannot be reached by any player) then play is restarted as above, unless the ball is in one of the defensive areas behind the 2-bar, in which case the restart goes to the nearest 2-bar
  • In the event that a restarted ball goes dead before entering open play, then possession of the subsequent restart is forfeit to the other team.

Time Limits

  • There is a time limit per bar of 15 seconds on the 3-bar or defender bars, and 10 seconds on the 5-bar. The goalie bar and 2-bar are treated as a single bar for time limit purposes
  • Time limits start as soon as the ball comes within touching distance of a player on any bar. Time limits are reset if the ball leaves touching range of that rod.
  • Penalty for exceeding time limit is a midfield kickoff to the opposing team
  • Time-outs can only be called for distractions (notably people pushing past, nearby smoking etc)


  • Spinning of the rods is a foul. A spin is defined as the rotation of the rod by more than 360 degrees before or after striking the ball. Single-rollover (i.e. “snake”) shots are allowed.
  • No table jarring, shouting or otherwise distracting opponents while the ball is in play.
  • Penalised team concedes either: midfield kickoff; or play continuing from place of infraction; or play continuing from current position - opponents’ discretion